KS News

Take Pride in Pride: Wichita's celebration kicks off June 16

ICTPride2017By Jamie Rhodes

WICHITA - Before Rodney King, shortly after the Civil Rights movement and during the sexual revolution of the 60s, there was the fight and struggle for equality and civil rights among the LGBT population.  
    On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn located in New York City had been raided by police for the second time that week, along with other gay bars in the area. Cross-dressers and staff who were in the club that early morning were arrested. During the arrests, the clientele erupted into a struggle with police, which eventually turned into violent riots.
    Demonstrations and protests were held. A month later, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was formed, which eventually spread into over 400 national organizations.
    The Stonewall Riots were a turning point for the LGBTQ community and can be considered the start of the civil rights movement for homosexuals.
    To commemorate the events at Stonewall, Gay Pride events started springing up across the country in June.
    The events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.
    According to the Library of Congress, “The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.”
    Wichita has celebrated pride month off and on since the early 80s. The first actual Pride Festival in Wichita was founded by Wichitan Kristi Parker in 1994.
    This year’s three-day event, held June 16-18, includes a festival, ­­­­­rally, parade, dance, family picnic, drag show and scavenger hunt. A full list of activities and the Pride Guide can be found at www.wichitapride.org.


Tig Notaro brings hilarious wit to the Uptown Theater

TigNotaro-infoBy Ciara Reid, staff reporter

KANSAS CITY - Tig Notaro has been through a lot in the last five years. In 2012, in the span of four months, she was hospitalized for a debilitating intestinal disease called C. diff, her mother unexpectedly died, she went through a breakup, and then she was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer.
    Amazingly, she was on stage just a few days later, sharing her raw and powerful health news with the audience, and ultimately, the world via her CD, Live. Her comedy set on the night she revealed her cancer diagnosis was incredibly brave, honest, heartbreaking, and yes – funny.
    Two years later, she performed a live show topless, displaying her scars and showing infinite courage.


Lady Parts Justice League brings powerful combination of laughter and activism to Wichita

LadyParts-infoBy Ciara Reid, staff reporter

WICHITA - If the Lady Parts Justice League (LPJL) sounds like a conglomerate of superheroes, you may not be far from the truth. Founded in 2015 by Lizz Winstead (who is also the co-founder of The Daily Show on Comedy Central), the LPJL is comprised of writers, comedians, and producers who aim to educate the public about discriminatory abortion laws and the terrifying reality of diminishing reproductive rights.
    Using humor as their primary weapon to disseminate information to the masses, the LPJL raises awareness through videos (more than 100 so far), social media, and now a nationwide tour appropriately titled “The Vagical Mystery Tour.” The tour spans eight weeks and hits 15 cities, including Wichita at Barleycorn’s on June 15.


Gay Pride Salina turns five

SalinaPrideBy Emily Beckman

SALINA - The fifth annual Gay Pride Salina is set for Friday, June 23 and Saturday, June 24 in Salina, Kansas.
    For the first time, a Gay Pride Salina Interfaith Service will be held at 7pm Friday at Trinity United Methodist Church, 901 E. Neal Ave.
    On Saturday, the Gay Pride Salina Festival will be held from 11am-4pm at Jerry Ivey Park, 2465 Edward St.
    Live entertainment will be featured at The Gazebo Stage throughout the festival, including the Rocky Horror Picture Show community involvement set. In addition, there will be community booths from LGBTQ supportive businesses, organizations and local agencies.


Seniors can apply to receive checks to buy fresh food at farmers markets in Butler, Harvey & Sedgwick County

BUTLER, HARVEY, SEDGWICK COUNTY - Low-income Kansas seniors may be eligible for a program that provides checks to purchase an array of healthy foods at farmers markets throughout the state.
    The Kansas Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (KSFMNP) is providing seniors who meet age and income requirements with $30 in checks to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey from authorized farmers at local participating farmers markets June 1-Nov. 1. Checks are available in $5 increments.
    To be eligible, the following criteria must be met:
1. A senior must be 60 years old or older.
2. A senior’s annual gross household income (before taxes are withheld) must be at or below 185% of the federal poverty level. For example, a household of one must have an annual gross income at or below $21,978 or a monthly gross income at or below $1,832.
    Applications are available at the Butler County Dept. on Aging (316)775-0500, Central Plains Area Agency on Aging 1-855-200-2372, and the Harvey County Dept. on Aging (316)284-6880. l


More News

KC film festival premieres Something Like Summer Screen adaptation of Kansas City native's book

Author Jay BellKANSAS CITY - Out Here Now, Kansas City’s annual LGBT film festival, returns to the Tivoli Cinemas in Westport June 22-29. Featuring eight days of film premiers, audience choice screening and more, the festival bills itself “More Films. More Fun. More Fabulous.”
    Among the films being screened are animated short films, documentaries, romantic comedies, global films, and films for youth. Check out www.outherenow.com for a complete lineup and a synopsis of each film being shown.
    However, this year’s Centerpiece Screening is of particular note. It’s the new film from the creators of the acclaimed drama, Judas Kiss, and adapted from the young adult novel of the same name by Lambda Literary Award-winning author (and Kansas City area native), Jay Bell.
    Something Like Summer traces the tumultuous relationship of Ben and Tim, secret high school sweethearts who grow over the years into both adulthood enemies and complicated friends.


Riverfest announces last headliner, VIP ticket offerings

WICHITA - Wichita Festivals recently announced that with the addition of Darryl Worley as a country concert headliner on Wednesday, June 7 at the RedGuard Stage, the Riverfest 2017 concert line-up is now complete.
    Also, ticket sales began for new VIP events open to the public for select concerts at this year’s festival, which takes place June 2-10.
    Fans of The Flaming Lips, LoCash, Mavis Staples, Common, and OK Go will be able to purchase VIP passes that include special viewing and seating options, a private cash bar and other amenities for $25 per show. Details and ticket information is available at WichitaRiverfest.com.


KU School of Medicine-Wichita to host LGBT forum

WICHITA - In honor of LGBT Pride Month, the KU School of Medicine-Wichita Diversity and Inclusion Committee will host a roundtable discussion on LGTBQI inclusivity and awareness.
    Led by KU’s clinical assistant professor Dr. Sarah Houssayni, current topics relevant to medical care and LGTBQI individuals will be discussed. A panel of physicians, including Dr. Houssayni, and members of the LGTBQI community will share their personal accounts, information about LGBTQI health and physicians as advocates.
    Afterward, small groups will be formed and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about the speakers’ experiences.
    The event is Tuesday, June 13 from 5:30-7:30pm at the KU School of Medicine-Wichita, 1010 N. Kansas in the Roberts Amphitheater. Refreshments will be available.


NYC plans activist march and rally to honor Chanute native Gilbert Baker on Flag Day: June 14

GilbertNEW YORK CITY — Friends and family of the late Gilbert Baker will hold an activist march and rally against LGBTQ discrimination and bigotry in memory of the world-renowned artist who created the rainbow flag, the international symbol of LGBTQ pride. Baker, a lifelong LGBTQ and social justice activist, died suddenly Mar. 31 in his Manhattan home. He was 65.
    The political march and rally “Raise the Rainbow!” will take place, appropriately, on Flag Day, which is Wednesday, June 14, from 6pm-9pm. It is a public event open to all. Attendees are invited to bring rainbow-themed banners, art pieces and protest signs.


Engage ICT: Democracy on Tap

EngageICTBy Emily Beckman

WICHITA - When KMUW, the local public radio station, hosted its first Engage ICT: Democracy on Tap discussion at Reverie Coffee Roasters, the community turnout exceeded expectations.
    Sarah Jane Crespo, director of community engagement for KMUW, recalls more than 115 people packed in the coffee shop to discuss health care.
    “It was standing room only, with folks filing all the way to the back of the building, perching on the steps to the second floor, and huddled in corners around the room,” Crespo said in an e-mail interview.
    That was in January 2016. Today, the program continues to exist, bringing panelists and thoughtful discussions to the community.


Nevada governor signs law ending conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth

NevadaGovSandovalCARSON CITY, NV - On May 17, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed SB201 into law, putting an end to the practice of “conversion therapy” in the state of Nevada for LGBTQ youth. The bill signing was the result of targeted grassroots advocacy efforts by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Gender Justice Nevada, Kaempfer Crowell, and the Human Rights Campaign.
    NCLR has been standing up on behalf of survivors of conversion therapy for the past 20 years, and in 2014, launched its Born Perfect campaign — marking a commitment to a state-by-state advocacy campaign to end this practice in each state across the country.
    “Today, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and elected officials have prioritized the safety, health, and well-being of LGBTQ Nevadans by putting an end to the discredited practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy,’” NCLR Youth Policy Counsel and Born Perfect Campaign Director Carolyn Reyes said.


GLAAD data shows LGBTQ people are nearly invisible or outdated punch-lines in big Hollywood movies

glaadNEW YORK – GLAAD, the world’s LGBTQ media advocacy organization, recently released its fifth annual Studio Responsibility Index - a report that maps the quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBTQ people in films released by the seven largest motion picture studios during the 2016 calendar year.
    GLAAD found that of the 125 releases from major studios in 2016, only 23 of them (18.4%) included characters identified as LGBTQ. Gay men are still by far the most represented group with 83% of inclusive films featuring gay male characters.
    Lesbian portrayals rose from 23% in 2015 to 35% of inclusive films featuring lesbian characters. Bisexual representation appeared in 13% of LGBTQ-inclusive films. At the same time, Harley Quinn’s bi-identity, which is front and center in the comic books that inspired the film, was completely erased in the Suicide Squad film.


Even More News

Smell of the Kill at WCT directed by John Dalton-White

03-Jun-17 37WICHITA - Wichita Community Theatre, 258 N. Fountain, presents a wild comedy by Michelle Lowe. The Smell of the Kill runs June 7-18 and is directed by John Dalton-White.
    Smell of the Kill refers to the animals hunted by one of the women’s husband and stored in a new meat locker in the basement of their home.
    Each month the three couples meet for dinner and drinks. While the men adjourn to the living room to play golf, the women are relegated to the kitchen. (The husbands are never seen only heard.)
    As the wives clean up the remains of dinner and trade gossip, each woman reveals that her marriage isn’t what she thought it would be.
    Meanwhile, the men go down to the basement to see the new prize possession, the meat locker, and inadvertently they are locked inside. Their wives, in the kitchen above, hear tapping and must decide what to do: rescue, call police, or maybe . . .
    Performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 8pm. The first Sunday is at 7pm and the second Sunday is a 2pm matinee. Tickets are $14 for adults or $12 for military/senior/students. There is a special opening night ticket price of $10 for all on June 7 only. Call for reservations 686-1282.


On the Beaten Path: Rain proves nay-sayers wrong

RainCafeBy Jamie Rhodes

WICHITA - There once was a time if you wanted to go to an LGBT-friendly bar or club, you’d have to go to the outskirts of town. Back then, clubs and bars that catered to the LGBT community had traditionally been out of the way, off the beaten path, and not centralized. This was all for good reason. It was mostly for protection. A lot of persecution went on back then. It was accepted that in order for a club to be successful it was better to be out of the way to prevent the backlash and harassment of the public. “Back then” refers only to up until about 10 years ago.
    Rain Café & Lounge, located on Douglas in Old Town, opened nine years ago. Rain’s owner takes pride in the fact that he brought something new to the city. It became a “proud showcase and example” to show the community an LBGT bar can survive on a major street in the downtown area.
    As with any new business opening (especially one under these circumstances), doubters came along. Through the years, though, “Rain has had incredible support [from the community],” Allen Mairs, owner, says. “We were able to prove the naysayers wrong. Ever since we’ve been open, we’ve been blessed by the community and neighbors, even from the city local authorities. We were able to put a good foot forward in the community.”

    Rain Café & Lounge’s primary focus is not on the alcohol at the bar, but on the food and the ability to hang out, talk with your friends, and not feel like you’re in a shady or out-of-the-way hidden establishment. It is a place one can bring your parents, partners, spouses or children.
    Mairs is proud that Rain could give the community something they could be proud of, while in turn, “the city can get comfortable and know it’s okay to support and normalize all of this.
    “We’ve accomplished that mission very proudly with the great advances going on. We did what was more important. We changed people’s minds in the end. We changed their minds and opened their minds. No one is terrified to be a part of our community any more. In some cases, you can say it’s something people look up to. That’s a great thing. Even in the last 10 years, major changes have been made. Every LGBT club that was opened for the most part was out of the way by necessity, and now LGBT clubs aren’t afraid to be in our main entertainment district. It’s terrific that we may have had some part of advancing that.”


Transgender 101: Learn what you don’t know

trans-qsWICHITA - With issues about transgender people in the news lately, many people have questions but very few facts. Table of Hope Metropolitan Community Church, 156 S. Kansas, will supply those facts in “Transgender 101,” to be presented at 6:30pm Saturday, June 3 in the church’s Fellowship Hall.
    “Transgender 101” was first presented on May 7 and was well received. The session is open to anyone who would like to learn the basics about transgender people and to ask questions in non-threatening surroundings.

What does it mean to be transgender?
    How does the transition process work?
    How can I be more supportive and inclusive of transgender people?
    One of Table of Hope’s counselors, a master’s degree candidate in Friends University’s Marriage and Family Therapy program, will lead the discussion, answer questions and provide additional information during the session. Contact Lori for information at 316-302-4453.
    It is important that people have accurate information to share with others. Refreshments will be served. l


Bathroom bill debate has earned Texas $216 million in bad publicity

discriminiationinTXAUSTIN — A review of press coverage shows that the Texas “bathroom bill” debate generated $216 million in bad publicity for the state of Texas.
    During the 85th Texas legislative session, 25,774 local, state, and national articles were written about the efforts to pass bathroom and changing-room restrictions on transgender adults and children. More than 20,000 of these articles were published outside of Texas.
    The media tracking service Meltwater was used to generate the data; Overall, the sentiment calculated across all news coverage was deeply negative.
    The topic of bathroom restrictions for transgender Texans has been shepherded into the spotlight by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and vocal anti-LGBT backers like Empower Texans, Conservative Republicans of Texas, and Texas Values.


Pride Foundation awards $438,000 in scholarships to 108 student leaders

MikiSEATTLE – Pride Foundation announced scholarships to 108 students from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington totaling $438,000—the largest total award in the organization’s history.
    Pride Foundation is the largest source of scholarships to LGBTQ students in the country. These scholarships, which range from $3,000 to $14,000, seed the next generation of leaders in the LGBTQ community.


Reviews & More

Intersections: LGBTQIA Artist Talks at WSU

By Grayson Barnes

WICHITA - One of the Wichita State University “Gaypril” events was an artist talk sponsored by the Cadman Art Gallery on campus -- its first such event. Three speakers, Alexander Moore, Sally Frater, and Kelsy Gossett participated in a PechaKucha format where they offered 20 slides for 20 seconds each through which they shared their work or projects they had been involved in.
    Alexander Moore is working on his Bachelor’s in Studio Arts at WSU. He is also the Assistant for the Shift Space Gallery at 416 S. Commerce in Wichita.
    Moore started his talk with images of his childhood. He disclosed that he had grown up gay in an accepting household, despite living in the “oppressive state” of Kansas.
    This experience created his artistic interests in psychological landscapes, large- and small-scale views, power structures, and unusual materials.
    A work by Moore that ticks off his first three criteria seems simple at first glance: two paintings on canvas, one on the wall and one on the floor. However, the floor piece is a HUGE work in muted pastels with irregular borders. Moore arranged the surface so that it is topographic, rather than flat like a traditional painting. It becomes a behemoth blocking the way so it is difficult for the viewer to interact with the TINY canvas on the wall behind it. The geography of the floor thus becomes a limitation.  
    Moore is also fascinated by materials he considers ‘abject.’ In Post-Structuralist theory, these are substances which disturb reality, and/or sensibility and convention. Fingernails parings are not what most would think of as an ‘art medium.’
    However, Moore used these in his pseudo-taxidermy Hedgehog, along with a compendium of other, well, NOT hedgehoggy elements. His goal was to make us question art (taxidermy?), life (dead hedgehog?), and the aspects of us that are cast away (fingernails = abject) that can be a part of BOTH life and art – if/when we change our view(s).
    Also presenting was Sally Frater, the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Ulrich Museum at WSU. Frater shared pieces by artists that she had worked with. All of them explored the identities of race, culture, and sexuality. The first artist Frater talked about was Michele Pearson Clarke, who was born in Trinidad.
    In Clarke’s video work All That is Left Unsaid, there are clips of Audre Lorde inhaling and exhaling. There is no sound. Here, Clarke draws parallels between the iconic (“Black, Lesbian, Mother, Warrior, Poet”) Lorde (who was from the Caribbean) her own blackness and sexuality, and her mother. There is also an allusion to Lorde’s work, because Lorde was known to say “your silence will not protect you.”

    We could even reference popular culture and tie in Star Wars: “It is all that is left unsaid upon which tragedies are built (Kreia, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords).” Clarke’s work stresses the necessity of communication.
    Jorge Galván Flores’ oeuvre is a dialog about identity and how that shifts, as well as empire and commodity. Although these are deep subjects, there is a sense of play in his pieces.
    One of his works, Espac-tacular, is a billboard. For the image, he trolled Google Maps and took two pictures, one from the street Paseo de los Heroes in Tijuana and one from the gardens at Versailles in France. He incorporated them seamlessly to create a composite.
    This was inspired by Flores’ amusement that the manicured bushes (topiaries) – which to him symbolize dominion and empire – were also favored by the folks on the street in Mexico.


For Your Viewing Pleasure: Kelsy Gossett

03-Jun-17 34REVIEW
By Grayson Barnes

WICHITA - Artists who candidate for a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree have to do a ‘thesis’ too. Instead of creating a bound volume of their accumulated research (including citations) like other disciplines, artists have to show what they have learned in a visual format. Just like that book it is judged by a panel of scholars. The difference is, that book appears in a few copies. Maybe at some point someone will blow the dust off of it and read it. The artist’s Thesis Exhibition, however, is open to everyone. The artist bares her soul.
    For Kelsy Gossett, who had her MFA Thesis Exhibition at the Diver Studio this past month, that soul-baring included some actual skin-baring. Not totally, though. She kept her undies on along with some other ‘outfits.’
    Gossett chooses underwear and clothing for her videos specifically to subvert that women dress FOR men. Her work is about maneuvering through the quagmire of female fetishism and sexual suppression commercialized for the heterosexual male gaze.
    Since Gossett’s work is video-based, a number of projection screens and televisions showing her films were strewn about the upstairs gallery at the Diver. The stripped warehouse space called to mind a shabby, low-budget movie studio whose output features skanky porn. I kept looking down to make sure I wasn’t tripping over taped-down camera cords or writhing bodies. This essentially made the place perfect for Gossett to show her stuff -- stuff reminiscent of photographer Cindy Sherman and the movie-making side of Andy Warhol.
    On one screen, Gossett and another woman stood facing the camera or interacted with each other and a balloon (The Dance, 2016). Only their bodies were visible. They wore beige sports bras and “granny panties” made of that otherworldly stretchy fabric that is used for women’s underwear which, after repeated washings, turns amorphously beige no matter what pastel color it started out as.
    The background was beige. There was no intimate touch, only friendly pats or strokes. Sometimes the balloon would be squished between them, but nothing about the women or their movement was meant to be provocative.
    In conjunction with this was a series of laptops showing the online video chats that Gossett and her co-conspirator had with men over a period of eight hours. The men were able to watch the video and tell the women what to do. Then Gossett and her ally DID NOT do what was asked of them. Chats that started as complimentary (“you are very beautiful”) became insulting (“you b_tches”) when the men’s desires were not fulfilled.
    In a series of vignettes made to look like cheap porn flicks, Gossett and a friend become “Vivian and Veronica.” According to Gossett, these girls “like to be looked at.” Vivian and Veronica play out roles in what appears to be someone’s apartment with appropriate setting materials changed out -- well, stuck to the wall by the bookcase – for the different scenes. They are Catholic schoolgirls, vixens in animal print, and doctor and patient. The irony is that A LOT of action happens, but no PHYSICAL intimacy occurs. It is like Gossett wrote the playbook for “Lesbian Fantasy Interruptus” in order to, again, subvert that male gaze.


Roxy's opens new show starring Kyle and Monte

WICHITA - An Act of God,  a play by David Javerbaum, opens June 2 at Roxy’s Downtown starring Kyle Vespestad, David Stone, and Monte Wheeler.
    The One with the first and last word on everything has finally arrived to set the record straight. After many millennia, and in just 90 minutes, God (assisted by His devoted angels) answers some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since Creation.
    Adapted from Javerbaum’s book The Last Testament: A Memoir By God, the play began its initial run on Broadway at Studio 54 on May 28, 2015. It returned to Broadway at the Booth Theatre in 2016 for a limited engagement starring Sean Hayes of Will & Grace fame.
    “Javerbaum’s radical rewrite of the Ten Commandments—the evening is structured around God’s introduction of revised laws—is clever and even refreshingly positive, insisting on the separation of church and state and encouraging us to believe in ourselves, not some elderly white guy in the sky.”
           —Time Out (New York).
    Roxy’s, located at 412 E. Douglas, doors open at 6:30pm, show starts at 8pm. Tickets range from $20-$30; call 316-265-4400 for reservations. 18 to enter, 21 to drink.
    An Act of God runs through June 20 and is Directed by David Stone. l



Trans is Only Part of the List, Not the Top

GraysonBarnesBy Grayson Barnes

I am a Transman. I wrote that with capital ‘T’ because of what it took to get here. I haven’t “known all my life,” like some Transgender people have. My gender dysphoria overwhelms me only occasionally, not frequently (or often) as it does a number of my brothers and sisters. My body IS at odds with my identity, but I am not seeking to alter it drastically. Testosterone and two surgeries would be enough. Now you know pretty much where I stand on that aspect of my being. That doesn’t mean I speak for everyone else in the world who is Trans.
    I want to put this out there, because it is bad enough to have to deal with being misgendered – to have someone call me ‘ma-am’ when I am a ‘sir’ – but it’s egregious to be called on to REPRESENT all Transpeople everywhere because I am often the only one in the room. I have purposely kept myself visible. Going from being an ‘out’ lesbian to a possibly stealth dude was one of the reasons I delayed hormone therapy for a whole year after I figured out who I truly am. I did not want to disappear into the woodwork and stop speaking for the disenfranchised.
    In our culture, we seem to believe the story is authentic ONLY if comes from the actual people it affects. It doesn’t mean anyone will act on anything, but, if a seemingly straight white man tells us how he feels about a given situation, there is serious doubt about the validity of his opinion. Why do we think this way? He might have a range of experiences, he might be empathic, he might have family members who are involved. Maybe he has an excellent plan. If he’s a smart man, he will only act after he gets further information from those affected.
    What allowed me to begin living authentically was I realized that I am a smart man. That aspect of me would never, ever be invisible. I needed to fight for that. Better yet -- I have had amazing experiences. I was in the military, I have a Master’s degree, and I realio-trulio lived as a woman. How many guys can say that? But, even then, I did not speak for ALL veterans, all people with graduate degrees, or all women. Today, although I have some good ideas because of my uniqueness, I don’t speak for all Transpeople either. It is wrong of anyone to expect that I should.
    Imagine this – a variety of people are sitting in a room chatting. Someone says, “I have been reading this book and there’s this phrase in Spanish I don’t understand. Is there someone in here who speaks Spanish?” At the same time, the person asking the question turns his/her head and LOOKS RIGHT AT a woman with café au lait skin who might be Latina. I witnessed this exact situation once, and the querent was completely discomfited when the woman responded, “I never learned,” but a blond guy said, “I can help – I grew up in Mexico City.”
    Amusing outcome aside, this is a form of something called a ‘microaggression.’ It’s when people make assumptions based on appearances or other not-so-visible aspects that might be mentioned (religion, sexual preference, dietary requirements). Although it isn’t outright inflammatory, it is dismissive. Microagressions do not take into account the whole person. Examples are expecting all women to know about the types of disposable diapers appropriate for different ages of babies or presuming all gay men are intimately knowledgeable about Drag Culture.
    When I am the only Transman in the room, I don’t want people to turn to ME and expect me to speak for Transpeople everywhere, even though I openly share MY experience. I sit on panels, write about my life, and talk to people about what it is like for ME. Sometimes, I admit, I even get a bit uppity and vehemently defend those topics I feel I have a say about. Medical issues are a big one, because I am a dude with a uterus and ovaries that I can’t get rid of because they are still ‘functional’ and ‘healthy,’ although I am post-menopause. However, I am a smart enough man to know I can’t speak for Transmen who might want to carry children. They do exist.
    After I have stepped off my Trans soapbox, I want to engage the other aspects of myself – pet-parent, friend, scholar – but I’ll need to clean my trifocals first. I am not all-Trans-all-of-the-time. To assume this is, again, a microaggression. Don’t ask me to answer “all things Trans” simply because I am. It is invasive. If there is someone Trans in your life, it isn’t his/her/hir/their job to educate you. Make an effort to learn on your own. Even I had to start with Google. l        


The power of homophobia - internal or otherwise

KristiAfter 24 Pride issues, I didn’t think I had anything left to say. But there is one story I’ve never told. It is about the immense power of internalized homophobia.
    I was living in a duplex in College Hill with a roommate; my little brother was living in the basement.  I had recently admitted to myself that I was a lesbian and I was seeing a therapist to help me deal with it. It wasn’t an easy thing for me and I was really struggling. One of the initial things she had asked me to do was write down all the things I didn’t like about the possibility of being a lesbian. I did so and stuck the paper in my purse - I had a purse!! - for the next appointment.
     Before my next appointment something strange happened. While my roommate was staying over at her boyfriend’s someone broke in and stole my purse. Just my purse. My brother didn’t believe it, thought I had misplaced it, until I showed him the plant stand by the window. Someone had removed the screen, and methodically dismantled the plant stand, stacking the glass shelves outside leaning against the side of the house, along with the plants lined up beside them, and apparently crawled through the window.
    My very first thought was about that letter I had written. Not my credit cards, ID, keys, pictures, money, etc. That damn letter. “He’s going to find that letter, read it and come back and show me what I’m missing,” I said to myself, terrified at the thought. As I was freaking out, the phone rang.
    “Where were you last night?” a strange man’s voice said. “I looked all through the house for you.”
    “Aaaaaaaaaaa,” I screamed and slammed down the phone. “Shit, I need to leave. Wait. He has my car keys,” I raced over to lock the door. “Wait. He has my house keys.”
    I called the landlord who came and changed the locks. I called the police and I called in to work. Through all of this I was still worried about that stupid letter. My deepest secret was in the hands of a stranger. Who knows who would see it? Who knows who he would tell? I was just sure that my being a lesbian - and that alone - was going to prompt him to come back.
    He didn’t come back.
    About a year later, I read in the newspaper that the police had caught the College Hill rapist. A victim had managed to get away and call police while he was still in her house. (I bet you can see where this is going . . .)
    My phone rings, it’s the police. “Ma’am, we found your purse. You can come down to Evidence and pick it up,” he says and gives me directions. The letter was still tucked inside, untouched.
    Be Out, be Proud, and be Safe.








Marcia McCoy, Ph.D.


Leather Life